Sparkling Wines of the World

Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved (as in theCharmat process), or as a result of carbon dioxide injection.

Sparkling wine is usually white or rosé but there are many examples of red sparkling wines such as Italian Brachetto and Australian sparkling Shiraz. The sweetness of sparkling wine can range from very dry “brut” styles to sweeter “doux” varieties.

The classic example of a sparkling wine is Champagne, but many other examples are produced in other countries and regions, such as Espumante in Portugal, Cava in Spain,FranciacortaTrento and Asti in Italy (the generic Italian term for sparkling wine being Spumante) and Cap Classique in South Africa. In some parts of the world, the words “champagne” or “spumante” are used as a synonym for sparkling wine, although laws in Europe and other countries reserve the word Champagne for a specific type from the Champagne region of France. The French terms “Mousseux” or “Crémant” are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region. German and Austrian sparkling wines are called Sekt. The United States is a significant producer of sparkling wine: California in particular has seen French Champagne houses open wineries in the state to make American sparkling wine according to the Champagne method. Recently the United Kingdom, which produced some of the earliest examples of sparkling wine, has started producing Champagne-style wines again.